A rich and refreshing portrayal of the lives and fortunes of glass factory workers picking up the pieces after the war by bestselling author Tommi Kinnunen, Finland’s answer to John Steinbeck.
The Tyynelä family have grown up in the shadows of the glassworks. Jussi, the eldest of three, is moved from pillar to post around different menial jobs at the factory, while the others work their way up in the ranks. But he sees the world around him differently, its detail and sharpness more acutely than those around him.
Jussi’s sisters are consumed by their own lives and worries. Helmi works at the factory and is filled with nostalgia for the past. Irascible Raili remembers her former life in Helsinki, living in the belief that to get ahead in life, one must simply have the will to do so. But the war has changed everything.
With his unmistakable style and lyrical prose, in this three-day-novel Tommi Kinnunen portrays the microcosm of the glassworks, the destinies of its people and the shape of their emotions and relationships with one another in the aftermath of the war. A beautifully-drawn portrayal of the forgotten women and men that history books forgot.
Tommi Kinnunen’s (b. 1973) first two novels, Where Four Roads Meet (WSOY, 2014) and The Light Behind the Eyes (WSOY, 2016) were published in Finland to critical and commercial success. Both titles were shortlisted for the prestigious Finlandia Prize for Fiction and received prizes and nominations for multiple literary awards. Kinnunen’s works have been translated into over 20 languages to date.
“Quality literature.” ★★★★ – Kainuun sanomat
“Beautifully written with a delicate touch.” – Suomen Kuvalehti
“Carefully constructed and executed.” – Turun Sanomat
“Kinnunen shows himself to be the best we have in portraying human suffering and prejudicial injustice.” – Helsingin Sanomat
“A very moving, well-paced and nuanced story.” – Etelä-Saimaa
“Like Dostoevsky’s Idiot, Jussi is shunned by the community for his defiency.” – Lapin kansa
“… doesn’t disappoint even the highest of expectations.” – Karjalainen
“Exceptionally rich and refreshing.” – Aamulehti
“Reminiscent of the village of Maconda in One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.” – Oma aika
“Kinnunen masterfully depicts the siblings’ rippling sorrow in this three-day novel.” – Etelä-Suomen Sanomat
“The Glass River is a bit lighter than Kinnunen’s previous two novels, which went deeper into the human experience and gave a broad social history, whereas this novel gives an impression of the time, place, and people – like a black and white picture that opens and closes as you go through an old photo album. But it’s an image more than sharp enough to leave impressions on those who have seen it and read it. – Janneken Øverland, Klassekampen, Norway
“Amazingly great! A must-read.” – Kleppanrova blog, Norway
“A moving story about a family, a story about glass blowing and a story about the post-war era in a small Finnish village…Tommi Kinnunen is an author that should be read by many. Highly recommended.” – Med bog ogh palette blog, Norway
“Yet another lovely novel.” – Tine sin blog, Norway
Bothnia Prize 2019
Young Aleksis Prize 2019